A Squirmy Child

“No!” screamed the child. The tired mother looked near her wits end. The child squirmed in her arms and pushed at the stuffed toy.

The doctor behind them, waiting to enter the church sanctuary, cleared his throat. Neither the child or the mother noticed him. He raised an eyebrow and squinted one eye at his wife.

“I want to go home!” The child kicked out and hit the doctor’s wife’s purse. Looking at his wife, the doctor whispered, “Are you all right?” She nodded and smiled at him, patting his arm.

“It’s okay, Abbey,” the mother said soothingly, patting the child’s back. “After church we’ll get an ice cream.” The child stilled for a moment, then resumed her crying as the mother rocked her, still patting her back.

The doctor looked at the other people in line, assuming they felt the same way he did as they shuffled up the stairs. “That’s it!” he whispered loudly to his wife.

“It’s okay. She’s trying,” the wife told him, squeezing his arm gently.

An odor ripped through the foyer. The doctor quickly covered his nose and puffed out his chest. “Um, ma’am?” He tapped the frazzled mother. “Could you take your child away? She’s disrupting everyone.” He spread his hand, waving down the line.

People shuffled awkwardly and looked away from the doctor. His wife stared at a painting on the wall. The child stared at the doctor, silent, as mucus oozed from her nose into her mouth.

The doctor cleared his throat again. He glanced at the people in line and his wife. Nobody was watching the interchange any longer. Their faces were aimed in every direction away from him.

The mother’s eyes filled with tears. Almost as if the child sensed the mother’s distress, she began to scream and squirm again, until she kicked the doctor in the chest.

“Oomph,” he grunted, then snickering surrounded him.

Fish Out of Water

An introverted gamer teen desires family time,

to feel connection. And love.

She takes off her shoes and follows grandma through the sand,

carrying chairs and umbrellas close to water’s edge, smiling,

even though today is not a day for swimming.

She sits in a chair as sand blows into her every crease and crevice.

The sun is too bright and too hot, but the wind cools…

even as it annoys by throwing hair into eyes and sand into

her sandwich.

An artist, she draws the waves and her family as she waits,

wanting to get into the water, but unable to.

She watches her family members laugh and frolic in the sea.

Her skin burns. Pain.

Day one is done, her beach time is over.

Six more days, no gaming.

Nobody talks to her. Nobody to talk to.

She sits alone in the house, reading. Alone.

This is her memory of the beach.

Tucker (a vignette)

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A young man brings a black curly-haired four-month-old puppy to the beach. He throws a tennis ball across the white mounds and the pup runs after it, bringing it back slobbery and full of sand. The young man throws it toward the water.

The pup runs after it, but stops abruptly at water’s edge, prancing back and forth as he stares into the water. It’s coming for him. He watches the ball bounce up and down in the waves. He cries for the ball. He sniffs the salty air. He looks down. What is he looking at? Is it a crab? A fish? A sand dollar not yet dead? He tentatively steps into the water and bites at the waves as they crash against the shore. He tries to get them, before they get him. He turns to look at the young man who tells him again to get the ball. He whines and turns back. Boldness takes over the pup and he leaps into the water, grasping the ball in his jaws. Fear turns to joy as he frolics amongst the waves, the ball caught in his mouth instead of a fish.

The young man calls him back to the towel. The pup drinks fresh water from the green fold-up cup the man has filled for him. The pup turns back toward the water, his muzzle dripping with the fresh water. He runs back to repeat his actions, biting at the waves, catching the ball and frolicking in the ocean, fresh water dripping into salt water as he searches for those elusive sea creatures that ride the tides.

Eventually slowing down, he runs back to his owner when called to plop down in the shady sand under an umbrella, tired from his new experience. His tongue hangs out and he lays his head on his paws to rest. Ah, the joy of the sea.

 

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